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Choke | [Chuck Palahniuk]

Choke

Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk's controversial and blazingly original debut novel, introduced a fresh and even renegade talent to American fiction, one who has retooled the classic black humor of Terry Southern and Kurt Vonnegut for the lunacy of the millennial age. In this novel, Choke, he gives listeners a vision of life and love and sex and mortality that is both chillingly brilliant and teeth-rattlingly funny.
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Publisher's Summary

Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk's controversial and blazingly original debut novel, introduced a fresh and even renegade talent to American fiction, one who has retooled the classic black humor of Terry Southern and Kurt Vonnegut for the lunacy of the millennial age. In this novel, Choke, he gives listeners a vision of life and love and sex and mortality that is both chillingly brilliant and teeth-rattlingly funny.

Victor Mancini, a dropout from medical school, has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mother's elder care: Pretend to be choking on a piece of food in a restaurant and the person who "saves you" will feel responsible for the rest of his life. Multiply that a couple of hundred times and you generate a healthy flow of checks, week in, week out. Between fake choking gigs, Victor works at Colonial Dunsboro with a motley group of losers and stoners trapped in 1734, cruises sex addiction groups for action ("You put 20 sexaholics around a table night after night and don't be surprised"), and visits his mother, whose anarchic streak made his childhood a mad whirl and whose Alzheimer's disease now hides what may be the startling truth about his (possibly divine?) parentage. An antihero for our deranging times, Victor finds that his whole existence is a struggle to wrest an identity from overwhelming forces. His creator, Chuck Palahniuk, is the visionary we need and the satirist we deserve.

"Even I can't write this well," says Thom Jones, and Bret Easton Ellis opines, "Maybe our generation has found its Don DeLillo."

Choke is also available in print from Doubleday.

Executive Producer: Dan Zitt
Producer: John McElroy
Jacket design by Rodrigo Corral
Jacket illustration by Bob Larkin
©2001 by Chuck Palahniuk
(P)2002 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"One of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time. He rearranges Vonnegut's sly humor, DeLillo's mordant social analysis, and Pynchon's antic surrealism (or is it R. Crumb's?) into a gleaming puzzle palace all its own." (Newsday)
"At times very funny. Also sick and perverted....Readers will love it. Readers will hate it and be offended by it. Must listen to figure out what you think." (AudioFile)
"Displays a Swiftian gift for satire, as well as a knack for crafting mesmerizing sentences that loom with stark, prickly prose and repetitive rhythms." (San Francisco Examiner)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (680 )
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4.0 (193 )
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4.0 (185 )
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Performance
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  •  
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 10-26-03
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 10-26-03 Member Since 2014

    glam

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Oh please, not another abridged!!!"

    Will you please stop featuring such appealing novels only available in abridged format? I am continually stumped as to why oh why anyone with a brain would even bother to read an abridged novel. Several times I have found on your site what promised to be a good read, but only available in the abridged version, and I have gone to the competition and rented the unabridged cassettes. Please stop the insanity!

    79 of 83 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela 10-26-03
    Pamela 10-26-03 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
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    "Oh please, not another abridged!!!"

    Will you please stop featuring such appealing novels only available in abridged format? I am continually stumped as to why oh why anyone with a brain would even bother to read an abridged novel. Several times I have found on your site what promised to be a good read, but only available in the abridged version, and I have gone to the competition and rented the unabridged cassettes. Please stop the insanity!

    141 of 149 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Bucci Charlotte, NC USA 02-25-03
    S. Bucci Charlotte, NC USA 02-25-03 Member Since 2012

    lostdogg

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    "Great black humor in a dysfunctional wrapper"

    I imagine a book editor having a heart attack at the opening line of the author urging us to not read(listen to) this book. It's a great bold, line and it had me hooked.

    Yes this book is graphic and sexually-explicit, but it's about a sex-addict and other addictions, so you can't really tiptoe around that and still tell the story as effectively as the author does. It's not for the squeamish, but then again, neither was Fight Club.

    Chuck Palahniuk is great at reading his story, as well, giving all the nuances and inflections that bring his characters to life. There is an additional interview with him at the end of the book, which is a feature I'd love to see in more Audible books.

    If you're a fan of Fight Club, Trainspotting, and the sort, you'll like this book a lot. I'm looking forward to more Audible books by Chuck Palahniuk and featuring his narration.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy BirminghamUnited Kingdom 03-30-08
    Andy BirminghamUnited Kingdom 03-30-08
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    "Original amusing and sexy in a sick kind of way"

    I sometimes wonder if I have been listening to the same book as other reviewers. This is an ultimately uplifting book about the point at which people break out of destructive behaviors and turn their lives around.
    Now that obviously involves delving into the destructive behaviors but since the example given is sex addiction everything has its positive side.
    I found it a very funny book. It is completely unreliable on almost everything especially the opening entreaty from the author to stop reading.
    If you are easily offended its not for you. If your are annoyed by snowboarder speak...Dude don't do it!
    If you enjoy original and irreverent ideas coming at you in twisted but amusing ways get it in your cart!
    I bought it because I enjoyed the sample...I think its pretty representative of the whole book so I would recommend you try that, if you enjoy it you will enjoy the whole thing.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael richmond, TX, USA 03-02-05
    Michael richmond, TX, USA 03-02-05 Member Since 2008
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    "Completely mis-understood work of genius"

    This book has been reviewed by several prudes on this site, and that's cool. But this book contains so much more depth and insight into people's actions and the motivations behind them. It is one of the most insightful and thought provoking books I've ever read, and it's a shame that so many people can't see past the "vulgarity and sex talk". Have an open mind with this one and you might walk away a different person. I know I did.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz San Francisco, CA, USA 07-01-03
    Liz San Francisco, CA, USA 07-01-03 Member Since 2012
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    "sobering"

    I got this book because I really enjoyed the movie "Fight Club." I was a little unnerved by the extensive and raw description of what goes on in the mind of a sex addict. Though this was disturbing, I found the book compelling. In the end I felt that the author's narration set the perfect tone. I enjoyed my little journey in someone else's mind--a reminder that the world is composed of all kinds.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J K Evatt 05-24-07
    J K Evatt 05-24-07 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "whoa"

    This guy writes the craziest stuff ever. I can only listen to about 1 per year from this author. It is mind blowing and gross....enjoyable in a sick way

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 07-02-15
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 07-02-15

    "... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stop the Abridged Madness!"

    “It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, VALIS

    I'm not sure how this one slipped by me. I normally don't purchase abridged novels or audiobooks. Perhaps, I just really wanted to hear Palahniuk read his own stuff (his voice is uncannily like a friend of mine who suffers from Triskaidekaphobia, but I digress...), but I can't give it a great review because it is ABRIDGED. Half the Mona Lisa might still be 1/2 a Da Vinci, but it isn't the Mona Lisa anymore. It is a piece. A sleave. Ugh.

    I really liked this book. In a lot of ways it may be my favorite Palahniuk novel (so far, and ignoring the abridgement which I had to fix on my own by going back to the original novel). You can tell CP is leaving a lot of his own emotion and blood in the narrative. Do I think it is autobiographical? Certainly not, but I think it may be built out of stones that Palahniuk has lifted. He is able to weave many of the themes he will visit again and again into this novel. The struggle of addiction, the struggle to be human in a dehumanized world, the explosive need to not conform to what is being sold is all here.

    There is a period in modern life when you wake up and realize that YOU are the beakless chicken destined to spend the rest of your life in a battery cage so small you cannot even stretch your wings. Society will continue to feed and water you as long as you keep pumping those eggs out. Most of us wake up to this existence and either pray or beg for it to end quickly. We might seek to muffle our existence with drugs, or religion, or sex, or exercise, or some other form of mental escape. We all grab for some opiate of the egg farm. Palahniuk is one of those rare writers, one of those rare birds who won't sit still in the cage. He is a chicken that seems fully prepared to burn the farm DOWN.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan 11-13-03
    Alan 11-13-03
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    "A very subtle, very brilliant, author!"

    Chuck does something not many other people do and he may not do it intentionally, but the wisdom of his writing is buried underneath a sort of "shock test" that you have to be open-minded enough to accept as having some value, before his brilliance really starts to surface for you. 'Lullaby' is better, but 'Choke' is good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linsey BRANDON, FL, USA 11-08-03
    Linsey BRANDON, FL, USA 11-08-03
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    "Genius!"

    This is the best novel I've encountered in years. I sat through it twice in a row, awed. Other reviewers have criticized it for its adult content, and it's not for kiddies or for the provincial. But if you are neither of those, get this book right away. It's pure genius.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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